Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A mystery wrapped in enigma within a conundrum?

Patty Murray's Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans With Children Act sounds like a slam dunk. Helping homeless vets and their kids? If we can, we must, right? Apparently not...
It was approved in committee with bipartisan support, and Murray brought it to the floor this morning, seeking unanimous consent. She didn't get it -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected on behalf of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who apparently was concerned about funding.
Apparently. Of course, when it comes to funding Dino Rossi, Tom Coburn's a yes vote...
Key Senate Republicans will be hosting a fundraiser for Rossi in northeast Washington (DC) with a reception where attendees could mingle with a dozen Senate incumbents. The $500-a-person event is being held at an address listed for Polaris Consulting, a lobbying firm that promises clients "unparalled access, expertise and experience."

Among the hosts will be Sen. Orrin Hatch, vice chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, Senate GOP Conference chairman. Sen. Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee are some of the others expected to attend.
Makes me wonder whether the budget is Coburn's only motive in blocking Patty Murray's bill.

What'cha think? Would Tom Coburn block assistance to the kids of homeless vets just to deny Patty Murray a popular - and necessary - legislative accomplishment?

And does Dino feel as good about taking Coburn's cash as Dave Reichert feels about his Barton bucks?

Mysteries abound and compound...

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Quote of the day.

Rep. Rick Larsen, running against a Palin-endorsed 'Tea Party conservative'...
The Tea Party folks say they want to take the country back. I say they want to take the country backwards.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

R.I.P. Senator Byrd

I don't have a lot to say beyond that. What he was right or wrong about over the decades will fade. His devotion to the people of West Virginia and the institution of the US Senate will be his legacy.

Again, R.I.P.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

From the "Be afraid…" file.

I'm afraid Mary's right
Although the gusher in the Gulf is a terrible tragedy, in the long view, it is not as threatening to our oceans as global warming.
Very afraid.

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Free is a very good price.

Sticker Robot's got these for a S.A.S.E....

Hat tip to Demeur.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Good question.

DNC Chair Tim Kaine, speaking to the Washington State Democratic Convention in Vancouver about right wing calls to 'take our country back…'
“What was so great about back anyway?”
To which I might add, back to what, exactly? Because (thankfully) it's never been what the wingnuts seem to want.

Hat tip to TVW's Capitol Record, which is offering gavel to gavel live blogging for them what wants it...

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And again...

...a random ten. Got hold of a 500 gig drive to put the whole music library on. I've moved about 150 gigs so far, and in the process I'm plucking out some stuff for my playlists. Who knows what'll pop up here over the next little while. There's some pretty great stuff that's been stashed on different discs and drives for a long time.

Anyway, ten to start your Saturday with...
Loudon Wainwright III - Goodbye Booze
Gram Parsons - Drug Store Truck Drivin' Man
Scott Miller & The Commonwealth - Drunk All Around This Town
Linda Ronstadt - Love Is A Rose
Lulu - Can I Get A Witness
Pete & Mike Seeger - Well May The World Go
George Jones - Choices
Tom T. Hall - Spokane Motel Blues
The Limeliters - Generic Up-Tempo Folk Song
Tim O'Brien - Mick Ryan's Lament

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Friday, June 25, 2010

It almost sounds reasonable.

After all Dino Rossi's hit the high 40s with a statewide electorate before, so the new Rasmussen numbers showing him tied with Patty Murray at 47% might seem improbable, but are, on the surface, plausible.

Rasmussen didn't stop there, though. They polled two other names against Patty, Republicans Clint Didier and Paul Akers, who came in at 40 and 38% repectively against 48% for Murray.

Please. His NFL experience on the other coast and the former half-term Governor of Alaska's enthusiasm notwithstanding, you won't find 40% of Washingtonians who can ID Clint Didier. I doubt if 8%, let alone 38, have any clue who Paul Akers is.

If they hadn't gone deeper than Murray-Rossi, you could almost say "Yeah, I could believe that." At second glance, if Dino can only drum up 47% from a sample so riddled with "anybody but Murray" voters that Didier and Akers come off looking competetive, Patty might beat him worse than I dare imagine.

Yep, it almost sounds reasonable.

Until you remember it's Rasmussen.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Dave Reichert finds the cost of freedom.

Texas Freedom, that is, as in Republican energy boss Joe Barton's Texas Freedom fund, which he uses…
...to funnel vast sums of cash from Big Oil executives and lobbyists into competitive campaigns around the country, particularly into campaigns where filthy oil money might prove embarrassing to the recipients.
Most of it goes out in $1000 chunks, but Reichert's worth $2500 to the GOP apologist in chief and his big oil benefactors. That's the seventh largest of the 31 contributions the Fund has doled out to Republican House candidates this cycle, according to Open Secrets.

A not so open secret is what situational environmentalist Dave Reichert's done to become one of Big Oil's best buddies.

Hat tip to desmoinesdem.

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From the "Me neither" file.

Senator Debbie Stabenow, D-MI…
If 15 million people without jobs is not an emergency, I don’t know what is.
Me neither, Senator.

Her extended remarks are recommended. Her critique of Republican obstructionism as electoral strategy seems right on target to me.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This just in…

…from the reality based community. Now that the recent unpleasantness has been dealt with, the Rude Pundit notices a few things that matter more than McChrystal...
1. We're funding the Taliban: "A criminal investigation has begun into allegations that the US may be unintentionally financing the Afghan Taliban through logistics contracts in the country. According to a US military document, as much as $4m per week in US taxpayers' money could be ending up in the hands of the Taliban...The payments reportedly reach the Taliban through a $2.1bn Pentagon contract to transport food, water, fuel and ammunition to American troops stationed at bases across Afghanistan."

2. There's gonna be a surge on the surge: "The report comes as the U.S. military is deploying an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan this summer in an effort to quell a rebounding insurgency."

3. Ten NATO troops were killed.

4. The Taliban continues to attack Pakistan. "Afghan Taliban says it has captured dozens of Pakistani soldiers following an attack on their checkpoint during a cross-border raid."
And the war drags on.

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Kind of a bittersweet Heh™, but Heh™ just the same. From somewhere on the intertubes...
"The economy is so bad, BP had to lay off 25 congressmen."

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It's done.

"I believe it is the right decision for our national security."
You're right, Mr. President.

If you agree (or don't, I suppose) there's a poll.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On a personal note...

...geezerhood seems to be setting in, as I keep having nostalgic "seems like" thoughts. For instance, it seems like the old metal ice cube trays froze the water twice as fast and made the ice twice as hard as the plastic (i.e., petroleum) replacements.

I'm almost certainly wrong about that, but it sure seems like...

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Contempt toward officials?

For military officers, it's not just a bad idea, it's against the law. From the Manual For Courts-Martial of the United States
Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.
I've considered McChrystal's public relations end runs around his superiors borderline insubordination for awhile. The insubordination is now explicit. This is a Truman-MacArthur moment. One of the Constitutional principles that McChrystal and I and every soldier is sworn to uphold is civilian control of the military. It the General ever had the integrity to merit his commission, he should resign it now and save his Commander in Chief the trouble of relieving him.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

Good question…

…from the Speaker...
"What is it that Republicans in the Senate and House don't understand about the need for jobs in America?"
I suppose the best answer is "anything." The don't understand anything about the need for jobs in America. They don't, in fact, understand anything about most anything.

Hat tip to Joan McCarter.

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Random ten...

...Still A Deadhead edition.
Playing In The Band (Closing Of Winterland)
Row Jimmy (Dick's Picks 29)
Althea (Without A Net)
Fire On The Mountain (Closing Of Winterland)
It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry (Postcards Of The Hanging)
Doin' That Rag (Dick's Picks 26)
Bird Song (Ladies & Gentlemen)
Playing In The Band (Dick's Picks 27)
Sing Me Back Home (So Many Roads)
Saint Of Circumstance (Go To Nassau)

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Friday, June 18, 2010

From the "Yes, but…" file.

Yes, mastermix is right,it probably does go "...without saying...
....but running for Senate isn’t the same as running for Sparkly Pony Princess BFF of America.
…but I'm glad it was said anyway. A hearty Heh™ from here.

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Truth in advertising.

Oliver's got 'em.

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It's been awhile…

…since I've mentioned how much I hate what they're doing to my Army. NPR offers this painful reminder...
There were 197 Army suicides in 2008, according to the Army's numbers. The total includes active- and non-active-duty soldiers.

Last year, the number was 245. This year, through May, it's already 163.
As with Vietnam, deaths after return are beginning to rival deaths on the battlefield. This is predictable. I'm not sure if it's preventable.

I fear not.

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Feel better now?

Death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner died in a barrage of bullets early Friday as Utah carried out its first firing squad execution in 14 years.
I forget, why do we kill people who kill people to prove that killing people is wrong?>

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Thursday, June 17, 2010

From the "Don't Panic" file.

Once again, Darryl does statistical analysis so I don't have to, which is a good thing since he knows how and I don't.

Hand wringing over Patty Murray's re-election campaign seems to becoming something of a cottage industry for pundits these days. Take the spin Goldy finds Publicola putting on the new Elway poll. While they're pushing the "Rossi gains ground" line, it turns out to be a very good poll for Patty. How good? That's where Darryl comes in…
If we normalize this poll (i.e. look only at the 352 who had an opinion) Murray is at 54% to Rossi’s 46%. As usual, I’ll approximate the probable outcome of a hypothetical election held today using Monte Carlo simulations. A million simulated elections of 405 voters at the percentages observed gives Murray 853,011 wins to Rossi’s 138,593 wins. The results suggest that if the election was held now, Murray would win with a probability of 86% and Rossi would wins with a probability of 14%. Here is the distribution of results from the simulated elections:

This, of course, presumes that Rossi gets through the primary. Given the Washington State Republicans historical affection for extreme candidates, that may be likely but it's not assured.

I figure he'll make it, though. My totally non-scientific gut feeling is that Patty's going to hold Rossi to the low 40s at best and deliver the third strike that knocks him out of the political picture hereabouts.

I've known Patty since she really was that mom in tennis shoes who cared enough about how the schools she sent her kids to were run that she went door to door and asked her neighbors for a chance to be one of the people running them. I voted for her in that election. She won. I've been voting for her every since, for the State Senate and now the US Senate. One thing I've learned along the way is that she's the best active politician in this state.

It helps that she's in it, as she always has been, for all the right reasons. Even among people who may disagree with her on some issues, she's going to own the trust issue in this election, and that's a very big deal in times like these.

My confidence in her prospects, then, is based a combination of confidence that Patty will run a smart and aggressive campaign and a trust in her basic integrity that's rooted in having watched her throughout her career in public office. Senator Murray, and when she's on the floor or in caucus, she's every bit Senator Murray, is, back her on the ground where folks live, still Patty.

If this sounds like an endorsement, well, of course. That endorsement's been a standing one since 1983.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What’s wrong in the Gulf of Mexico?

Lots of things, of course, but Dean Corgey, Seafarers International Union vice president for the Gulf Coast region, notes one that kind of surprises me, though on reflection I suppose it shouldn't...
The offshore exploration, production and service industry in the Gulf of Mexico, to the best of our knowledge, is 100 percent nonunion and increasingly foreign. Past attempts to organize these workers have been met with bitter opposition–not from employees but from employers.
Unions train workers, enforce safety regs and protect whistle blowers. How much difference would a union workforce have made in the decisions and actions that led up to the current crisis?

100% nonunion and totally screwed up. Seems to go hand in hand.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It is what it is.

Navy Cmdr. Danny Hernandez, on Illinois Republican and Navy Reservist Mark Kirk's "deployments" to Afghanistan...
"I would think that would be (considered) two weeks of annual training. A deployment is a deployment and annual training is annual training."
I guess they didn't tell Kirk that war stories are for the barroom and bedroom, not the campaign trail.

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From the "Me too" file.

Steve Benen ponders one of life's little mysteries...
I continue to wonder where the Republicans find such strange and confused candidates to seek key elected offices.
…as do I.

Your suggestions are, as always, welcome.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Rebranding BP.

Logo My Way is having a contest. Some inspired entries…

They've got hundreds of 'em.

Hat tip to John Gabree at Impractical Proposals.

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From the "If you've seen one tree…" file.

Rand Paul on mountaintop removal mining…
As I came over here from Harlan, you’ve got quite a few hills. I don’t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there.
Keep talking, Doc, just keep talking.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Some of that (vocal) jazz.

About 1% of the directory, randomly…
Billy Holiday - I Can't Get Started
Sara Gazarek - My Shining Hour
Julie Hardy - It's Alright With Me
Dinah Washington - Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?
Freddy Cole - I Can't Make You Love Me
Gabriela Anders - The Girl From Ipanema
Joey DeFrancesco - They Say It's Wonderful
Mose Alison - Baby Please Don't Go
John Pizzarelli - Three Little Words
Jaqui Naylor - Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?

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Friday, June 11, 2010

More filing fun.

King County's list hasn't quite caught up, but the Secretary of State shows former State Rep. Patty Butler in race for the open State Senate seat in the 32nd. That sets up a race between a former Democratic Rep and current one, Maralyn Chase, for the Senate seat and a former Shoreline Councilmember, Cindy Ryu, and a current one, Doris McConnell, for Position one. There are also Republicans (known locally as "also-rans") involved.

Still just the phony D and token R challenging Rep. Kagi in position 2.

With an hour and a half to go, I don't expect any more surprises, but if I expected them, they wouldn’t be surprising.

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While I'm on the subject...

...if you're local, you've still got a couple of hours to click over to King County Elections and file for Precinct Committee Officer. Do it. It's free, fast and it's the only truly partisan office on the primary ballot, and if you're a registered voter you're eligible.

Filing closes at 4pm, but if you're in process they'll give you till 4:30 to finish up, but why wait? Took me about five minutes on a dial up connection. You'll feel better and be more engaged.

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Filing week follies.

It's the last day of filing week in the upper left and the various contests seem to be firming up. Not a lot of noteworthy changes in the last couple of days. Dino Rossi has finally filed, taking a firm stand against redundancy by eschewing his "Prefers GOP Party" designation for "Prefers Republican Party." The whole "prefers" thing is still driving me crazy. A good example of the mess the anti-partisans have made of our primary system, though, is right here at home in the 32nd Legislative District.

Republican Gary Gagliardi filed to lose to incumbent Democratic State Rep. Ruth Kagi early, but it took a couple days for perennial candidate Stan Lippmann, who has apparently moved to Lake Forest Park since his run for mayor of Seattle, has filed with the designation "prefers Democratic Party." One wonders since when, since, according to the Shoreline Area News...
Lippmann has run in the past for Congress, attorney general, Seattle mayor and other offices under a variety of party labels. He is currently a Republican precinct committee officer in Lake Forest Park.
Given the state of election law in our state, it's apparently fine for an officer holder in one political party to file for election as a "preferer" of another political party. Sounds like fraud to me, but without partisan registration or partisan primaries, it's just the kind of mischief our laws not only allow, but seem to encourage.

With the top two primary in place, "Democrat" Stan Lippmann could well end up facing Democrat Ruth Kagi in November. I kind of doubt it, but it could happen. That's just wrong.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Not funny "ha ha…"

…funny "hmmm." Demeur
Funny how we never hear of a disaster with "green" technology.

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Good question…

…from Jed Lewison.
Why did Carly Fiorina doubt Meg Whitman could handle Hannity?

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Chart of the day.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? edition.

Hat tip to E.D. Kain.

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Filing week Wednesday.

We're halfway to the end of filing week in Washington, that magical time when dreams are dashed, rumors are confirmed and suprises are always in store. My notes so far…

I'll be talking more about my confidence in Patty Murray at the top of our state ticket this year as time goes on. Frankly I think Dino's entry is the greatest gift so far. I note that the perennials (Goodspaceguy, Mike the Mover) show a marked preference for the Democratic Party, as meaningless as that may be in a top two primary.

My own personal Congressman has drawn five challengers so far, including three self-ID'd Democrats. This may hold him under 65% of the vote in the primary.

There will be a Democratic contestant in every Washington State Congressional district. Long odds for a sweep, but you can't win if you don't play. Score one for State Party Chair Dwight Pelz and his team.

Locally, all three legislative positions in the 32nd District are on the ballot. The Senate seat is open, due to Sen. Darlene Fairley's retirement. So far the Senate seat and incumbent Democratic Rep. Ruth Kagi have drawn typically token Republican challengers, but the action is in the House Position 1 race, where Shoreline City Councilmember Doris McConnell and former Councilmember Cindy Ryu have filed to replace Rep. Maralyn Chase, who is running for the open Senate seat. Ryu won an early nomination from the local Democratic organization, but in our party-blind top two primary system, they could both run as Democrats, or Democratic Party "preferers," all the way to November.

Meanwhile, filing week continues and there's still time for you to get involved. If you aren't a PCO and your precinct needs one, it's never been easier to get on the ballot in King County. If you're reading this, you can click over to King County Elections and file online. No fuss, no fee. Get your name on the ballot. Good for your Party. Good for your country. Good for you.

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Quote of the day.

Blackwater/Xe founder, owner and now seller Erik Prince...
"Performance doesn't matter in Washington, just politics."
He should know. On a performance basis, he'd be doing 20 to life.

Hat tip to Zandar.

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From the "You can't fool all the people…" file.

WAPO-ABC News poll (.pdf)...
By a 12-point margin, Americans trust Democrats over Republicans to handle our nation’s biggest problems – 44 percent to 32 percent (a decrease of five percent for Republicans since February).

Six in 10 Americans are dissatisfied or angry about the policies offered by Congressional Republicans.
Hat tip to The Gavel.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Just wondering...

...how many people found out for the first time this week that Helen Thomas is an Arab-American?

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Just the facts.

No fun. Via Truthdig...
The U.S. has now been fighting in Afghanistan longer than in any war in American history, including that other quagmire, Vietnam.

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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Good question…

…from Matt Yglesias.
Of course Israelis don’t want to be hit by rockets, but why shouldn’t Gaza’s civilians have electricity?

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Chart of the day.

Not good enough, maybe, but better. Via the Speaker's blog...

Sure, click it bigger.

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...a random ten.
Sara Watkins - Long Hot summer Days
Lucinda Williams - Here In California
Del McCoury - Big Rock In The Road
Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Brothers Cup
Jefferson Airplane - Don't Slip Away
The Shangri-Las - Remember (Walkin' In The Sand)
Rita Coolidge - Fever
Nick Lowe - I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass
Spottiswoode & His Enemies - I Didn't Hurt You Intentionally
The Kingsmen - Don't You Just Know It

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Friday, June 04, 2010


Spanish for South Carolina?

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From the "Since you asked..." file.

Steve M. appears puzzled...
Golly, I thought there was no racism left in America. So why is one wing of the South Carolina GOP trying to appeal to something that doesn't exist?
Since you asked, well, perhaps you were wrong.

I detect a rhetorical quality to the query, though.

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By the way...

...reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

Most of my pals are fine, too.

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Look what the Legislature bought me!

Kinda sorta. It's been a good long while since I've owned a decent six string guitar, but I was feeling kind of prosperous when I took my trusty 12 string into Guitarville for some new tuners and while was poking around I came across a good looking and better sounding Samick G100, one of their Greg Bennett signature models, at a pretty irresistable price point, and now it's mine.

So, what's the Legislature got to do with it? Well, almost 40 years ago I swore I'd quit smoking if cigarettes ever got to a dollar a pack. I didn't, not at a dollar and not at six. But a new dollar a pack tax that hit on May 1st was just the kick in the pants - or whack upside the head - that it took to get me to shake the habit cold turkey. The price of the guitar was well below the money I've saved by not buying smokes for the last 35 days, money I would have literally burned up before.

So thanks are due to the Leg, and to the guys at Guitarville for making me a great deal. I'll be doing a little extra grinning with my picking for awhile.

By the way, if you're in the market for a guitar, amp, effect or any such, Guitarville, a local institution for over 50 years, does a thriving mail order biz, featuring some incredible vintage instruments along with a full line of newer and more affordable axes. If I'd been smarter earlier I might have taken home one of those ancient Martins, but I'm happy as a clam with what I got for a few weeks of tobacco savings.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What Rudie said…

slightly bowdlerized.
...the Gulf oil spill is not Obama's Katrina. No, it's his 9/11: a sudden, explosive event that hit in the first part of the presidency and revealed to the nation a threat that crosses party lines. Now, howzabout DC Republicans get off their bullsh*t propaganda machine for a little while and saddle up to help? Howzabout the media do what they demanded of Democrats after 9/11 and tell Republicans to put aside "partisan bickering" for the "good of the nation"? Maybe a little help instead of mindless slash and burn?

Oh, wait. Don't forget that we're dealing with Republicans.
Reminding us, of course, why...

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Good advice…

…from Tom Harper.
If you don’t want your own city council, school board, district courts and county offices to be infiltrated by a bunch of snake-handling whackjobs — follow all of these local races, learn who the candidates are, and Vote!
Being generally skeptical about absolutes, I'm not really sure all politics is local, but that's where it starts.

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Wait'll Prince Namor hears about this...

I snagged it from Fixer, who got it from Oliver. Pass it on.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

From the "Since you asked…" file.

Brad DeLong inquires...
Does Washington care about unemployment?
…meaning,of course, the other Washington. Since you asked, no, not much. There are a few against it and a distressing number in favor of a fair bit of it, but the thing they all have in common is that they have jobs.

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